"Mediterranean" is a set of associations as well as a place with varied styles. Rich colours, natural materials, gnarled olive branches and scented herbs suggest the region. Stucco walls and wood gates, everything aged, bring to mind sunny gardens and a slower pace. Select a few elements of Mediterranean style to turn the walls of your garden into the borders of the wine-dark sea.
Bring the spirit of the Mediterranean to a home with colour and landscaping. Choose a palette of vibrant colours such as melon, purple, olive or taupe, and true red for garden walls and furniture. Paint low, block-shaped walls in melon and top them intermittently with square grid trellises in red and a dusty shade of purple. Use the walls for seating between the trellises. Beneath each trellis, set or build a deep planter painted to match the wall and train beans, tomatoes and flowering vines from the planters to the trellises. Raised beds throughout the garden are painted a subdued olive or taupe and planted with vivid flowers, hot pepper bushes and herbs. The colourful wall encloses the space and echoes the brightest flowers and fruits.
A limestone wall fountain turns a terra-cotta tiled patio into a sunny Mediterranean retreat. Wall a patio with stucco, high enough to provide privacy and top the walls with more glazed tile or ceramic caps. Set another, lower wall inside the exterior wall and fill the space between them with planters for green foliage and vivid flowering plants. Leave the central section of wall for a shallow pool and an antiqued, cast-limestone fountain. Hunt for an old Roman lion's head or another style that conjures up the region. A fountainhead that spills water into a basin that overflows into the pool creates a musical backdrop for a chaise and a small table and chairs.
The scents and sights of a Mediterranean garden are captured by a tall ochre entry wall with an old gate. Place irregular stepping stones from the sidewalk to the wall and fill in the spaces between them with a sturdy green groundcover like creeping thyme. Train grapevines and other climbing vines over the wall to make it seem timeless. Clay pots and glazed ceramic planters can line the walk and edge the wall, holding more aromatic herbs like rosemary and lavender. A pair of weathered wooden doors with wrought iron open panels and vintage hardware opens like French doors in the wall to reveal the courtyard and front door beyond.
Mediterranean Fusion Wall
When you crave the Aegean but your crib is in Santa Fe, decorate and plant to evoke the spirit of the Mediterranean. A high adobe front wall is a perfect canvas for dreams of olive groves and ouzo. Set hand-painted Mediterranean tile mosaics in the wall. The blues and yellows of the region and designs of dolphins or typical Mediterranean scenes will stand out against the soft orange adobe. Plant weeping cedar and olive trees along the wall and grow some tomatoes in a trellised terra-cotta planter beside the entrance. An entry arch in the wall may be left open or filled with an old wood door and the flagstone walkway should meander through the arch to become a patio for alfresco dining in the front yard.